INSPIRING: Brooke Pratt and Nathan Tessmann are Young Citizens of the Year.
INSPIRING: Brooke Pratt and Nathan Tessmann are Young Citizens of the Year. Warren Lynam

Tragic circumstances haven’t defined these young lives

A HIP hop rapper and the sole survivor of a horrific car crash were the joint winners of the Sunshine Coast Youth Citizen of the Year Award.

Both Nathan Tessmann and Brooke Pratt have known struggles none of us ever hope to face.

Nathan, 21, has been living with the rare condition, spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress type 1.

Brooke was only 15 when the car in which she was a passenger slammed into a tree at Mountain Creek, killing three passengers in November 2006.

Neither of these two young people have been defined by their circumstances.

Through Nathan's music, speaking at events and appearances on national TV shows, he advocates hope from "debilitating disability to dynamic ability".

Brooke has chosen to share her story to change driver behaviour and decrease the road toll. It hasn't been easy for Brooke who took a year off in 2015 to rediscover her talents and abilities after eight years of talking to youths about her experience.

Winning the award has made her realise she has an important job to do.

"I know what it is like to go through (an accident). It is very hard, life changing and is something we can prevent.

"I feel like this is what I am called to do. We need to get the message out there of the real impact something like this can have."

Nathan said he felt he won "an Oscar or something" as he went on stage to receive his award.

"Rap music gets a bad rap," he quipped.

"I try and incorporate a good message and show people whatever challenges we face, we can get through."